There are many reasons couples avoid sex. One common one is because one or both partners is uncomfortable with their body. Sex is a physical act, and it is easy for body issues to get in the way of a satisfying sex life. Let’s look at a few of these in a little more detail.

Body Image Issues

A lot of people struggle with body image issues or self-consciousness in sex. Being “in your head,” criticizing your body, or wanting to hide, means you are not present in the experience with your partner. You are probably far removed from the pleasure you could be having. If one of you has gained weight or had some other change while you’ve been together, that person may be especially self-conscious about their body now. Worrying about your body is a common reason to avoid being sexual. On the one hand, you can certainly start to do what it takes to move toward the body you want to have. On the other hand, there’s good reason to make peace with who you are and accept yourself now, so you can live your life and enjoy yourself without always waiting for the day when your body looks like you think it should.

Watch my Just the Tip Tuesday discussion about ways to approach body image issues:

Sexual Aversion

Some people avoid sex because of an aversion to bodily fluids or a belief that sex is just gross. Often people are also bothered by other bodily functions and situations. It takes some work to overcome these reactions. You can certainly see a therapist to help you, or you can try a basic exposure desensitization approach, working your way to comfort with parts of the body and their secretions. You can only sanitize sex so much, but you can start with clean bodies, towels nearby, condoms or latex barriers, and a dose of patience.

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